A couple of posts back I wrote about impossible assignments that kids kept bringing into the library and how difficult it can be helping them find the required materials.
In the comments, Heidi made this very accurate observation, followed by my response to her.
Me: What can I do for you?
Him: I'm looking for Julius Caesar.
Me: Oh. . . he died.
(Note: This is what happens when I do not flip my "think before speaking" switch. After he looked startled and I apologized, we got to work.)
Him: It's for my son.
Me: Does he need a biography about Julius Caesar? What's the assignment?
Him: Um . . . I don't know. It just says "Julius Caesar" on this piece of scratch paper he gave me.
Me: Do you know what class it's for?
Him: No, I don't.
Me: Huh. Well, the thing is, we have lots of biographies about him, and we have books with "Julius Ceasar" as the title, but I'd hate to send you home with the wrong thing if you're not sure what he needs.
Him: I think I'll call my son.
Me: Sounds good, I'll wait.
Turns out, the kid needed a copy of the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare for his English class. Which . . . yeah. Like we were ever going to guess that.
This is why I always, always feel bad for parents who come into the library looking for what their kids told them they need for their assignment. Especially when it's for something that is due tomorrow and the parents just barely found out about it. And I always, always want to tell them that their lazy kids should be coming in their own dang selves. But hey, I don't know their life. Maybe it's a lot less painless if they just do it themselves.